Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Back-Saving Tip

This is a Yerba Prima Skin Brush, which I use every day. The bristles are vegetable fibers and are invigoratingly stiff when new, gradually softening with wear, which is when you know it's time to get a new one. When the bristles are too squishy for my taste, I use it to scrub pony legs and feet, and sometimes other body parts.

My back is always just a hair's breadth from tweaking out on me, and this allows me to scrub to my heart's content without having to bend so far. This could keep you safer if you're trying to bathe an unruly baby or a horse you suspect might kick. I used one on Baby D's owwy back leg once it began to heal.

I would not recommend using a new one on a horse, or using a brush with artificial bristles, since the bristles are firm and many horses are funny about their legs.

Buy online at Amazon or Vitamin Shoppe. But buy it for yourself first. Your skin will be as soft and smooth as a spanked baby's bum.

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's Pony Time!

Boogedy boogedy boogedy boogedy shoo.

I've been trying to discipline myself to go to Iron Ridge one day after work during the week, which I arbitrarily decided will be Wednesdays. It seemed right: we ride on Sunday mornings when many attend church, so why not go on the other church day?

What holds me back? Two words: heat and inertia. As for the first, it's summer and triple digits in Texas, so 'nuff said. As for the second, after an hour's commute each way to/from work and the work day itself, all I want to do is get home and chill out.

But now that the Boyz are at the farm, I miss seeing them, and I don't want to lose momentum in the baby's training.

I walked out into the pasture Jaz and Daltrey share with Poco and the other geldings. Jaz stopped nibbling to look at me when I called, but didn't move. As I continued talking to him and drew closer, I saw the look of recognition on his face and he actually greeted me with his raspy neigh, which we liken to the call of a dying moose. This is uncharacteristic, and I mentioned it to Heather when we got back to the barn. She said Amy, one of the SCAers, had ridden Jaz the day before. Jaz saw her approaching, apparently thought it was me, and trotted up to her. Upon realizing it wasn't me, he turned tail and trotted off! She didn't have any trouble catching him, but how funny is that?

Not sure why I thought of it, but I decided to pony Daltrey while riding Jaz. Jaz was a little off, evidenced by gas and loose poo, but was his typical willing self. He probably got into some vegetation he shouldn't have, and Heather said he was fine the next day.

They were both champs, and acted as if they had done it their whole lives. I was a different story, and felt like I didn't have enough hands. I got the job done, but I sure hope no one was making notes about my riding style.

We only worked for 15-20 minutes. Daltrey was loose as I was tacking Jaz down, and was a pesky little itch. Just for devilment, I threw the tack on not-so-little Mr. Nosy. He didn't flinch, even when I fastened the girth. His attitude continues to amaze me. And look how handsome!
Nita holding Daltrey in my barrel saddle.
"Mommy, WOW, I'm a big boy now!"

We sat in the barn alley for a few minutes drinking Gatorade and telling lies after we turned the Boyz loose to graze the yard. We heard a tiny thump, followed by a rustling sound. I assumed it was a chicken, but it turned out to be one of the baby birds nesting in the framework of the doorway.

Jason, the Bird Whisperer to the rescue! Don't you love how the feathers on its head make it look like a little old man? Jae stuffed it back into the doorway and all was well.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yard Sale, Texas-Style

At the end of June, I noticed people setting up for a yard sale as I was on my way to Iron Ridge. I normally put my blinders on, since I don't need anything. Oh, but this was a Texas-style yard sale, featuring tack. LOTS of tack. I managed to keep my truck on the road, and when I went back the next day, it wasn't there. Whew! Dodged that bullet.

For awhile, anyway.

The following weekend (Friday of the long July 4th weekend), the sale was back on. In fact, it seemed as if they had even more stuff on display. On my way back from riding, my truck pulled itself into the driveway of its own accord. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

There was a pile of halters and lead ropes a couple feet high. There were two carousels of headstalls and bits, and another of reins. Most of it was really severe stuff, including wire mechanical hackamores, etc. There was a table full of spurs, another filled with stirrups and miscellaneous leather and hardware, and still another with a stack of ropes as high as I am tall. There were at least a dozen saddles. This was not a store going out of business; it was a collection of roping tack in various stages of used.

Most of the saddles were big, as in large-man big. One was teeny-tiny, with the name "Christine" cloyingly engraved on the cantle plate. Then my eye beheld one that not only looked as if it would fit me, it spoke to me.  It was a beautiful, vintage (1970s-1980s) hand-tooled roping show saddle. The old cowpoke in charge measured it at ±15". It was on a wooden stand, and I climbed on.  It's as if it had been custom-made for my bum.
 I can find no maker's mark.
The keepers, hobble straps, stirrups, and front billets were replaced.
The rear billets may be original.
The cowpoke gave me the stand.
The cantle plate is solid brass, not brass plated.
I thought the conchos might be silver,
but the more I look at them, I think they're nickel or something else.
Hard to tell, since someone scrubbed the daylights
out of them, possibly with a wire brush.
 This is old-school hand tooling.

This is the color of the hydrated leather.
This photo was taken the day I brought it home,
so it's looking (and feeling)
a lot better than it did that day.
 The flocking has been replaced.
There are two small spots on the scalloped edge of the pommel
where friction from a rope wore through the leather.
It's cosmetic, not structural, and is charming, I think.
Although there are tiny, superficial cosmetic cracks,
mostly around the edges, I don't think anything except
the Blevins sliders needs to be replaced.
The rear girth (above), however, has deep, structural cracks on the underside. But look at the tooling — you don't see tooled rear girths like that anymore. I haven't ever used one, but I'll treat it anyway. One could have another girth made using the tooled pieces, which are the keepers.

Thank goodness dear Mr. Fry is such a western enthusiast. He looked askance at me for a moment when he saw my purchase, but was soon admiring the craftsmanship and my good fortune for having spotted it. He did question my need for it, but — bless him — he did not rain on my parade.

I took it apart and applied almost an entire liter of Lexol Conditioner/Preservative to the saddle and girth. The leather sucked up every bit of it. I have since added a liter of Farnham Restorer & Conditioner, which it also absorbed. I've finally gotten it to where I have the stirrup leathers cranked around with a dowel, and I continue to treat it periodically.

I'll try this saddle on Jaz, but I don't think it will fit, at least not without a riser pad. This will be Daltrey's saddle. It's heavier than my barrel saddle, so I have started some upper body conditioning so I will be able to lift it over my head.

I wonder about the person or persons who owned the saddle, the horses that wore it, the places to which they may have traveled, and what they may have done together. I sense an aura of warmth, confidence, and excellent karma. I think it's a good omen and talisman for D and me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Val of Fantastyk Voyage!
Val, a woman after my own heart,
rides Western, likes bling,
and likes any color.
Here's some pink bling for the girl and her pony(ies).
 A closeup of Val's bling.
Val also gets this sassy tote bag.
 Even the sides of the bag are sassy.
And finally, courtesy of my dear friend Jill in England,
the book War Horse, and a DVD on how they staged
the London (and now Broadway) productions,
including how they fashioned those amazing puppets.
This wonderful video is not available in the US.

Congratulations Val!
Email me your snail-mail address
and your goodies will be on their way.

Thanks for playing, everyone.
We'll do it again at the Big 5-0-0!
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